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311: Visuals in Product Design

August 28, 2019

This week, we answer a few listener questions, including what constitutes a good visual design experience, when to put case studies on your site, and when to battle bureaucracy at the office. And as always, we share some cool things, like a couple interesting YouTube channels, one that reviews visual effects and one that makes gaming documentaries.


Listener Questions:

  • Q: Sam Chang asks, "What are your thoughts on including project case studies on your website? Is it something you do only when you're actively looking for work?
    • Article: "The Case Study Factory"
    • Claudio Guglieri creates some amazing bespoke blog posts for his site
    • A: "If you'd like to show your thought process and/or let potential employers know that you understand the design process, yeah, totally. Or if you'd like to share with others a peek behind the scenes of the production, that's great, too. It's all useful from a documentation and lesson preservation standpoint. But in general, more seasoned designers tend to post fewer cast studies."
  • Q: Lucas Morales asks, "What can we do when fighting bureaucracy ends up taking the majority of our time at work? Should we continue to battle or just leave?"
    • A: "Maybe there's a third path. Given there isn't systemic mistrust throughout your org, you could try making an argument to overcome some of the red tape, framing it with the rationale of a better process, higher revenue, or whatever's most effective to move the stakeholder needle. This is a great chance to show your leadership by fixing a broken thing, and then you can take credit for it at your next performance review. Every obstacle is an opportunity! But ultimately, it depends. If the process is still salvageable, you might want to take the lead on salvaging it. If everything's hopeless, then yeah, maybe leaving is the best idea. If you do leave, though, make sure to mention your reasons for doing so in your exit interview, otherwise your concerns might never reach the right ears."
  • Q: Anonymous asks, "How would you describe a good product experience from a visual design perspective?"
    • A: "Visual design is most valuable when it exists in service to experience design. Strive to create a consistent narrative in the system through visual treatments, the goal being that your users can accurately understand the interface and consistently predict the result of any given action."
    • Check out Github's Issue page to see the green buttons and badges that Marshall's referring to here

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